June 1, 2023
Zana Muno: Beach Volleyball's 'Hooptidoodah Girl'

HERMOSA BEACH, California — There are a lot of features of Zana Muno’s ability set that may very well be described as tough. For instance, it is exhausting to know the place Muno can be defensively, because the AVP chief in per-set digs in 2022. Typically it appears that evidently it may be wherever.

It is actually exhausting, virtually inconceivable to win a joust in opposition to Muno, who focuses on wrist-swiping, particularly when on the appropriate. It is exhausting to hold one in all America’s greatest passers.

Nonetheless, it is by no means significantly tough to take a look at Muno on the sector and perceive precisely how he is feeling.

There he’s, on Manhattan Seaside, on his knees, fists clenched, triumphant cries.

Zana Muno shouts at celebration/Mark Rigney pictures

After numerous grueling rallies, he is taking greater breaths than his lungs can deal with. Right here he’s, throwing his fists within the sand at a degree in Chicago that does not go the way in which he desires.

Zana Muno
Within the ladies’s semi-finals, the third set slips away from Zana Muno. /Picture by Mark Rigney

Right here she is, mendacity on her again in Hermosa Seaside, smiling with eyes so broad that she is celebrating a Cinderella run in 2019.

Zana Muno
Zana Muno celebrates/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

And there it’s, then enjoying, bouncing with contagious, indescribable pleasure.

Zana Muno
Zana Muno jumps for pleasure/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

She’s a sense, Muno, as she describes herself because the “hoopdidoodah woman”. It is each her best energy and what retains her coming again to the video games and seashores she’s been enjoying since she began strolling.

“I just lately shared a photograph and the way cool is it that I really feel these feelings each day? “No one at work is down and that is cool,” Muno mentioned. SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter. “That is why sports activities are superb and that is why I nonetheless do this and that is why I adore it a lot.

“You watch a sporting occasion and also you see the feelings these persons are feeling and I’ve a terrific perspective as a result of I stay with two ladies who work 9-5 and I scream and shout and bounce and I really feel these feelings. scoundrels suck however how particular is that? I believe being human is the very best factor on the planet. “It is a fantastic factor and we turn into very human. We expertise the widest vary of feelings and actually really feel what it is prefer to really feel and what I am hooked on.”

In an age marked by consciousness, introspection, introversion and sometimes inflated feelings, Muno is a powder keg bursting with pleasure, laughter, love, unhappiness, disappointment – full gamut so that you can see, each sport strumming it is probably the most watched and adopted on AVP A ardour that makes him one of many prime gamers. Not as a result of he wasn’t cautious. Its consciousness appears a bit of totally different from the extensively accepted recipe, that is all. Certainly one of her favourite books these days is The Assured Thoughts, a confidence-building manifesto written by a person who trains college students of the U.S. Army Academy.

“Studying learn how to develop and excellent and be the very best you might be on the similar time was one thing I did not count on to like a lot,” Muno mentioned. “I believed I might love enjoying video games and tournaments and going professional, nevertheless it was the little issues that I liked.”

It can be crucial that he doesn’t prefer to play. He likes to be skilled. She likes to journey and discover quaint eating places in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Australia loves exploring the Gold Coast gem that’s Coolangatta. He likes a wet experience to a map level within the Czech Republic and a gap within the wall in Brazil. What she loves most of all—enjoying, touring, meals, and late evening and early morning jetlag—is that she will do it. with somebody. Who that individual is is just not as necessary because the expertise of constructing one thing with one other individual, whether or not it is a crew, a relationship, or perhaps a one-time partnership.

“I like folks. I believe I struggled rather a lot due to that final yr. I like friendship, power, eye contact. I feed off of it. I feed off the gang. I like power,” Muno mentioned. “That is what actually drives me. It isn’t in regards to the which means of the sport, it is in regards to the power. It strikes me. There’s one thing that you simply’re enjoying and constructing one thing that you simply perceive and empathize with, no matter it’s, it is very, crucial.”

Muno talks about struggling in 2022, however his resume on paper tells a special story. He has been profitable throughout your entire spectrum of individuals this sport has to supply. He gained with large blockers (Toni Rodriguez) and small gamers (Allie Wheeler). He gained with a extra stoic and critical (Lauren Fendrick) and self-defining gypsy spirit (Brandie Wilkerson). He gained with the rookies (Crissy Jones) and the best ever (Kerri Walsh Jennings). Solely within the final two AVP seasons has he made it to the semi-finals with three totally different gamers – Kelley Kolinske, Wilkerson, Jones – who couldn’t be extra totally different in persona kind and enjoying model.

“I really feel way more versatile. I might by no means think about myself a versatile individual. I am very meticulous and rigid, however that compelled me to be extra versatile in each facet of my sport off the courtroom,” mentioned Muno. Mica [Ma’a, her boyfriend who plays professionally in Turkey] He was my accomplice for half of my coaching final yr, God bless him. I’ve discovered to take advantage of any scenario and attempt to discover worth in the whole lot. I’m going to follow and a few folks say ‘I would like this’ or ‘I want this’. I do not want something anymore as a result of I do not count on something. From sleep to nervousness and the whole lot, I now know that I can carry out at a excessive stage with out a number of issues deliberate, and it is comforting. It does not should be excellent and I can nonetheless discover a approach and nonetheless depend on it. I needed to study shortly and I’m grateful for studying.

A good query chances are you’ll be questioning at this level in Muno’s story is whether or not he selected this destiny for himself. Is the accomplice bouncing round in a relentless quest to seek out the appropriate match? In a uncommon spin on seashore volleyball, Muno has by no means deserted his accomplice. Jess Gaffney was on the receiving finish of all passes, though a few of the one-off occasions with Rodriguez, Sarah Pavan, and Fendrick had been kind of deliberate to be single occasions. For probably the most half, it was blockers searching for greener pastures, leaving Muno to win and win and get some extra regardless of who was accessible.

“It was powerful however I had some excellent occasions recovering from the stress of all this, and I additionally performed with ridiculously good volleyball gamers. They made it fairly simple. It was a enjoyable time however going into this yr I used to be like, ‘Please God, I simply desire a accomplice this yr’ as a result of it was an excessive amount of,” Muno mentioned with amusing. “I believe I am profitable within the chaos. I strive so exhausting to not, however I believe I actually thrive within the chaos. It might be good to simply be calm and the whole lot is regular.”

Zana Muno
Zana Muno celebrating a degree on the Phoenix Gold Sequence Championships (Picture/Mpu Dinani)

For a quick, lofty second – ​​perhaps even an entire week! – issues appeared regular. After enjoying nicely with Walsh Jennings at King of the Courtroom in early March, he turned a accomplice for Muno all April. Them I signed up for Three occasions in Brazil: two Challenges in Itapema and Saquarema and an Elite 16 in Uberlandia. With days left to go to Itapema, Walsh Jennings was compelled to retreat with an harm. So Muno did what he does greatest: messed it up. Wheeler stuffed the final minute for Walsh Jennings at Itapema, and Carly Kan answered the AVP New Orleans name.

“It is simply volleyball,” Muno mentioned of his potential to succeed with no set crew. “It is the identical sport. It wasn’t actually difficult, however it may be emotionally difficult greater than the rest. There’s one thing unsaid a couple of crew and constructing and feeling issues and never being on tiptoe and it was rather a lot misplaced for me till the top of this yr. I used to be drained.”

And so 2023 begins very equally to 2022: Its first 4 matches can be performed with 4 totally different companions. Not that he would design it that approach, however sadly that has allowed Muno to do what he loves most on this sport: chasing one thing that almost all cannot so he can really feel like most cannot.

“I like anybody who chases a dream since you’re placing your self on the market,” she mentioned. “A pal of mine from highschool might begin a straw firm and I might purchase it since you are susceptible when pursuing your ardour, particularly if you’re an actor. No matter we do, it’s a judgment about us. It takes rather a lot and it takes a number of braveness, and I respect everybody who took this step, who was courageous and did it, as a result of it is not that simple.

Zana Muno
Zana Muno celebrates a degree on the Phoenix Gold Sequence Championships/Mpu Dinani, AVP

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